Having surgery, multiple injuries, or severe injuries can take a lot of strength and energy out of you. At first, you will get tired easily but this will improve slowly and steadily over the next few weeks. For a smooth recovery and to help prevent further illness, follow these tips:
No heavy lifting (more than 20 pounds), for 4 weeks
No activity more strenuous than a brisk walk for 2 weeks.
If anything you’re doing feels like it’s pulling or tugging at your wounds, please stop.
Follow up with your surgeon for clearance to return to work.
Your new medications and any changes in your old medications are listed above. Take your pain medication as prescribed, do not drive while taking the narcotic medication, and do not take any additional Tylenol if your pain medicine has Tylenol (acetaminophen) in it. You only need to take the pain medication as long as you have pain- you do not have to take it until it is all gone. Even when taking the pain medication you will still feel some soreness- it is impossible to remove ALL pain, but you should be comfortable enough to walk without problem and to sleep.
Narcotic pain medications (such as codeine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone) can cause constipation, as can the stress of injuries or surgery. Ideally, your bowel movements should be well formed, soft, and easily passed. To facilitate this you should take the colace and senokot as prescribed, drink plenty of liquids, and limit liquids that contain caffeine to one or two drinks per day. You may also add Metamucil or another fiber supplement two times a day, and/or eat high fiber foods such as prunes, prune juice, fiber bars, and high-fiber cereal.
Following hospital discharge:
- If you have not had a BM after 1 day, take 3-4 tablespoons of mineral oil 3 times a day until the first smooth bowel movement. You may then reduce the mineral oil to 1-2 tablespoons twice daily if still needed.
- If there is no BM after 3 days, add 1 oz. (30ml) of Milk of Magnesia. If there are no results in six hours, repeat.
- If after following these instructions you are still experiencing constipation, contact the EmCare office
The trauma surgeons can be reached through the EmCare Acute Care Surgery clinic. Please call to arrange follow-up in 1-2 weeks.
Some examples of other issues that may arise after surgery or trauma include:
- Increased or continued drainage from wounds or surgical incisions.
- Bleeding that soaks through the dressings.
- Pain that is not adequately relieved by your pain medication.
- Increased shortness of breath or problems breathing.
- Increasing swelling, redness, or warmth of a wound or surgical area.
- Fever greater than 101-degrees Fahrenheit (38.3-degrees Celsius).
If you experience any of the problems above at a low level, call the clinic. For life-threatening or severe problems (such as major bleeding), consider calling 911 or report to the nearest emergency room.